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Moon NASA The Almighty Buck Idle

What The Apollo 11 Crew Did For Life Insurance 168

Back in 1969 insurance companies weren't very optimistic about the odds of an astronaut making it back to earth after being launched in a rocket to the moon. The cost of life insurance for the Apollo 11 crew was astronomically high so they came up with a clever solution. A month before launch, the astronauts signed hundreds of autographs that were to be sold if they didn't make it back. From the article: "About a month before Apollo 11 was set to launch, the three astronauts entered quarantine. And, during free moments in the following weeks, each of the astronauts signed hundreds of covers. They gave them to a friend. And on important days — the day of the launch, the day the astronauts landed on the moon — their friend got them to the post office and got them postmarked, and then distributed them to the astronauts' families. It was life insurance in the form of autographs."
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What The Apollo 11 Crew Did For Life Insurance

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  • by kasperd ( 592156 ) on Friday August 31, 2012 @05:01AM (#41187599) Homepage Journal

    why couldn't NASA guarantee an annuity to their families shouldn't they return home? I don't think it would have been so detrimental for NASA's balance sheet...

    I agree, that's what NASA should have done. But even if they didn't guarantee it beforehand, they might still be able to provide the funds after the fact. Is there any documentation on what happened in those (three?) cases where NASA missions did result in fatalities?

  • Re:Military officers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Friday August 31, 2012 @10:16AM (#41189693)
    My dad was Army for 4 years, then worked for the US Government for 23 years. When his retirement was calculated they included the military time for ~27 years of service. After he died, my mother gets 50% of the benefit, plus government health insurance. I don't know if this was automatic, or they had to pay for it.

    AFAIK, when you retire makes a big difference. How old you are, and exactly what laws are in effect at the time of retirement can cause the numbers to be different for people who might have retired only a few months apart.

    Also, my dad told me what might be a military legend. Your retirement pay is based on "highest rank received", vs. your rank at the time of retirement. During WWII it was common for a corporal to be the highest ranking member of his group left after an attack, and would be field promoted to a lieutenant or higher by the nearest officer. These field promotions wouldn't last much longer than the current battle, but would be included in calculating retirement benefits.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde